Musical talent is acquired from an empirical approach, which means people get better at it over time through practice and training. Most people start developing their skills in music as a child and some start in their teen ages. Being a talented musician doesn’t require a sophisticated degree, it entirely depends on time and effort you put behind it. And that’s why many young artists contemplate if having a music business degree is a requisite to work in the music industry. While obtaining higher education is never a bad idea, most people wonder if this will help them land a good job given the expenses and the time commitment to earning a college degree.
As advised by KISS bassist Gene Simmons, “Take care of the business or the business will take care of you”. And that is absolutely true. While the scene needs long-haired prodigious poster boys upfront, it also needs people working in the background to sell the music the former create. Moreover, with efficacious business acumen, single artists can climb their way up the ladder in this ever-changing market.
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The nature of the degree and courses offered generally tend to vary in different colleges. And thus, one should carefully inspect the programs before enrolling into a college if they want to get a competitive edge while looking for their desired job in the industry. Aspirants should weigh up the programs according to the courses offered in order to make sure that they are getting the right kind of education for landing their dream job and for growing professionally in the years to come. Most schools are likely to have a combination of music and business courses. One should look for programs that offer courses in marketing, production, business management, and other industry essentials. The courses should be designed in such a way that it provides a graduate an in-depth knowledge of the music industry.
As mentioned earlier, a regular bachelor’s degree includes classes in both music techniques and the basic principles of business. Even though marketing, music promotion and management are important topics to learn, a good course also concentrates equally on matters like networking, law and critical listening. Moreover, better schools offer internship programs which can be really useful for career growth. Internships help the aspirants build networks and give them first-hand work experience in the industry, offering them an ice-breaking before they actively start looking for jobs.
A master’s program mostly focuses on business law and management. Here, courses on music fundamentals are a little less rigorous than in a bachelor’s program. In many schools, internships are a must since experience weighs a little more than academics in this industry. Some schools also require a graduate to complete a thesis, which is often as important as quality internships.
Students who want to enroll in a music business degree can choose from some accredited institutions that specialize in the field. Started by Sony Chairman Martin Bandier, the Bandier Program at Syracuse University is the best there is. With a closely-knit atmosphere and series of internships offered, it provides a graduate with more work experience than any other school does. Another notable institution with a very pragmatic curriculum is Clive Davis Institute at the University of New York, where the programs heavily focus on gaining practical experience on entrepreneurship. Again, Berkeley College of Music is perhaps one of the best institutions for contemporary music in the entire world. Here, the music fundamentals courses are heavily enriched and students tend to dual major in both performance and music business.
Drexel University, Belmont University, DePaul University and University of the Arts are some of the other schools that provide a comprehensive curriculum in their respective music business degrees. One thing is certain, an aspirant in this field will never be short of good schools to go to.
Going back to our long-haired poster boys, can you imagine these men organizing music tours, booking their hotel rooms and flights while simultaneously brokering multiple deals with clients? There has to be someone who needs to take care of the budgeting and logistics, and an Artist Manager does exactly that.
Marketers are also an inherent part of the music industry since the art that is created is treated as products in the market. And someone needs to sell these products i.e. find the right music labels along with accurate marketing strategies.
Getting a music business degree doesn’t essentially have to make you say goodbye to the technical part of the music. One can pursue a career in Sound Engineering as well, blending the confluence of sounds into a splendid euphony.
Handling the digital distribution of products and mitigating piracy is also one of the major fields of work in the music industry. A distributor needs to comprehend the commercial viability of these channels and pry out the best outcome accordingly.
Moreover, a single artist can work for himself in order to slowly encompass the industry starting with the local music scene. Young artists might face a number of difficulties with financial and organizational formalities in the initial stages, and prior knowledge on these issues can make their lives a lot easier.
Job Outlook and Salary
People who work in the music promotion sector primarily make sure that artists reach their target audience. Moreover, they ensure the sale of concert tickets, band merchandise, and recordings. It is intrinsic to the sustainability and subsequent development of the artists. Music Promoters or Marketeers generally work on the business aspect of the industry. They require at least a bachelor’s degree in most cases. These people usually earn about 63,000 USD a year, with projected job growth of 2.5%.
Orchestra Managers or Artist Managers look at the organizational and logistical part of the music scene. They manage finances and budgeting, along with handling concert arrangements and band tours. A bachelor’s degree isn’t always compulsory for this position but certainly adds more value. The median salary is around 60,000 USD with projected job growth of 3.2%.
With the accurate blend of technical education and work experience, a music business degree can be really helpful in developing a career in the industry. While below par programs may make little to no difference in someone’s career, a good degree from a reputed institution can greatly enhance their portfolio. Moreover, the networking opportunities provided by a well-accredited college can prove to be instrumental for a young professional in the longer run.